In the final session of the 2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference, organizers announced we will be traveling to Oregon next year with the conference scheduled for August 17-19. In addition, we announced the 2013 conference will likely be in Penticton, British Columbia.
First a little history. The first-ever Wine Bloggers Conference took place October 2008 in Sonoma, California. We decided to move to summer months the following year and, given the short turnaround time, in 2009 again held the conference in Sonoma, with a visit to Napa. In 2010 we decided to bring the conference on the road and landed in Walla Walla, Washington. This year, as you know, we just completed our first East Coast conference, being treated by the folks in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Oregon is an ideal place for the next conference. Portland has a major airport and the Doubletree hotel is a large, experienced conference hotel. (In fact, we at Zephyr Adventures will be there next month for the Beer Bloggers Conference.) The heart of the Willamette Valley wine area is only 20 miles outside the city. And the Oregon wine industry is thriving, with its impact on the state having doubled in the last five years.
We are thrilled to be traveling to Oregon and expect this conference to sell out for the fifth time in a row. Registration is now open via this site.
At the same time, we are very excited to announce the 2013 conference is scheduled to be in Penticton, British Columbia. We normally don’t announce the location of a conference two years in advance but we elected to do so for two reasons. First, because Penticton will be a bit harder to reach for some of you than destinations such as Sonoma or Portland. Second, because the wine region is not huge, our conference is not trivial, and this will give local area supporters extra time to prepare for our invasion, such as making transportation easier for our attendees and making imports of wine possible for our sponsors.
Finally, a few words about the process. Each year we select a handful of potential locations as hosts for the following year based on the wine region and our attempt to spread the reach of the Wine Bloggers Conference. We ask regions if they are interested and to submit a bid for how they will be able to support the conference. We then take qualifying bids and both a) allow for public comment and b) have a private vote of past and current WBC blogger attendees. We choose based on the location, the bid, the public local support, and the private vote of bloggers.
This year and, in fact, for the past 12 months, Penticton has shown amazing public support. They created a Twitter and Facebook account to support their bids, they submitted letters from eight regional organizations, and they even reached out to other wine areas in Canada. However, we learned from our bloggers that many of you were not ready to travel there in 2012. Oregon, on the other hand, topped our poll of bloggers with significantly more of you telling us you would attend the conference there. In the end, we paid attention to our bloggers and paid attention to the bids and local support.
We hope you like the selections!